Nunavut passes law to join suit against opioid companies

Bill 28, the Opioid Damages and Health Care Cost Recovery Act, given assent on Nov. 9

The Government of Nunavut has passed a law allowing it to join a proposed class-action lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies led by British Columbia. The GN passed Bill 28, the Opioid Damages and Health Care Cost Recovery Act, on Nov. 9. (Public domain photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

A bill to help the Government of Nunavut go after pharmaceutical companies through the courts for alleged negligence and predatory marketing is now law.

Bill 28, the Opioid Damages and Health Care Cost Recovery Act, received assent in the legislative assembly on Nov. 9, six days after it was proposed.

According to Justice Minister David Akeeagok, the purpose of Bill 28 is to preserve Nunavut’s ability to join a lawsuit against drug companies to recover damages and health-care costs arising from opioid-related illnesses and deaths.

The suit is being led by the government of British Columbia.

“Without the bill, certain claims could be barred by the expiry of limitation periods under the Limitation of Actions Act,” he said earlier this month.

Currently, the Nunavut government along with the other provinces and territories is in negotiations with drug companies to recover past and future health-care costs arising from the companies’ alleged negligence and predatory marketing of opioid products, he said.

Without the legislation, Nunavut would have risked being excluded from the class action certification, which the Supreme Court of British Columbia is scheduled to hold a hearing for on Nov. 27, Akeeagok said.

The suit alleges opioid manufacturers, distributors and consultants used deceptive marketing to increase sales of opioids, and this has resulted in increased rates of addiction and overdose.

It names more than 40 opioid manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors as defendants.

The minister compared the bill to a similar Nunavut law that was enacted to recover health-care costs from companies related to tobacco use.

“Preserving the right to sue the drug companies is also necessary to allow Nunavut to continue negotiations with the drug companies to try to reach an out-of-court settlement,” Akeeagok said.


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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Statistics anyone? on

    It would be interesting to know how much of an impact opioids have had on Nunavummiut.

  2. Posted by Northener on

    Great doctors are already affraid to prescribe opiods for pain. Leaving people eating handfulls of tylenol wich causes liver damage. I know from experience when i broke my leg, i understand the reasoning but their has to be a better way than to deny propper care.

    • Posted by alex on

      Doctors afraid of prescribing opiods? Or perhaps they are using they’re better judgment knowing the risks.

      • Posted by Better judges needed on

        For those people who can handle alcohol, and don’t go lunatic with 2 or 3 beers, watching the lunatic movie is interesting. For those who are the Center of out problems in the north, you should be cut off from alcohol! Talking about prescriptions for opioids, off course the doctor are caught between, the power of allowing access to those that really need it and the ones with a foot already in the grave, and will die with its use. If only alcohol could be constituted in the same way , with a prescription, the doctor could help put the lunatic in a healthier state for themselves and the families.

  3. Posted by What about alcohol, just for the north? on

    Just pertaining to The north. Where alcohol causes more damage than a war as seen in other parts of the world. So funny, how opioid crisis brings actions from Nunavut, and for years and years, death and injury over and over, from alcohol, that not tolerated well among some many northern. Destroying the very life of people, and no, it’s in vain , nothing done, but wait, opioids, yes off course a major killer, yes opioids, not alcohol, says he and she . Anybody making these decisions, and missing the alcohol damage, should be kick out of office, and put on a black list for stupidity, even negligence.

  4. Posted by Mass Formation on

    If Nunavut government are so concerned over a chemical health Canada drug, then why do they stay silent about Health Canada’s “self-care framework”?

    The hard push by the Feds to make natural health products, vitamins and minerals un able to be purchased and cannot see a natural heatlh practicing doctor.

    Regulating them away with strict laws, skyrocketing higher prices and hefty fines. Which paves the way so only chemical drugs can be used for health in Canada.

    Around 71% of Canadians use Natural Health Products.

    • Posted by Cynically speaking on

      I doubt this is less about the government “caring so much” than it is an easy opportunity to throw their name on a lawsuit and collect a few easy dollars.


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